STEMinist Profile: Nicole Trenholm, Program Director/Field Operations Scientist


Nicole Trenholm

Program Director/Field Operations Scientist

Ocean Research Project


What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
It is a deep-rooted passion of mine to embrace STEM throughout my life. I aim to contribute to society by researching the relationship between man and our planet’s oceans and encouraging sustainable solutions to nurture a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
In 2013, I spent 80 days offshore; after 20 some days commuting to my work site, I collected 40 sea surface plastic samples throughout the eastern extent of the North Atlantic Gyre, a Texas size survey. Plastic debris, a concoction of un-natural chemical pollutants, are peppered throughout Earth’s oceans and changing what was once a pristine watery wilderness. It is the toxicity absorbed in the material being exchanged between marine species to people and its impact on human health that scares me. I am sailing for science but for the betterment of all parties within the biosphere.

Role models and heroes: Benjamin Franklin, Ida Lewis, Rachel Carson

Why do you loving working in STEM?
Initially, pursuing STEM was not a thought, I steered away, taking cover from STEM-related intimidation and anxiety. I am in love with the natural sciences. I want to defend the environment; therefore, I decided to charge STEM and embrace it.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Take charge and defend our home! Learn the technical tools to be STEM capable. Experience science & engineering in a hands-on manner by being proactive by engaging in citizen science & tinkering. Build your STEM network for a bigger bang.